For retro rummaging and bygone era buys, add a visit to this Portobello pop-up to your summer to-do list, says Lisa Williams
With a rainy summer washing away our hopes of picnics, parks and sun tans, it’s time to indulge in a bit of retail therapy instead.
For lovers of vintage, there’s just the event taking place at Portobello Market.
The team from Gathering Goddess, the Westbourne Park Road vintage boutique that has dressed the likes of actress Oona Chaplin and model Tali Lennox, has decamped to the old HSBC on Portobello Road for a summer pop-up, running until August 19.
While some large vintage stores and the rummaging they require can be intimidating for the novice shopper, the Gathering Goddess’s normal home is a small boutique where you peruse the edited collection while the assistants scour the large basement for similar items.
With more space to play with at the pop-up, they can show off more of their vast archive than usual, so that 20s flapper dress for your Great Gatsby party or a stunning 70s trouser suit will never be far from view.
But the same bespoke approach applies, according to Gathering Goddess owner Wilma Mae Basta.
“We love to share the history of the garments with our clients and make them feel like they are in their own private dressing room,” says Basta, who worked in showbiz and consumer PR before her love for vintage took over.
And imagine if your own dressing room also had an in-house seamstress to alter anything you needed, stylists from the Head Lounge to do your hair, and London’s State Of Grace to offer bespoke garment and accessory design.
Not only that, but the pop-up also hosts a collection of vintage rock posters to buy and headpieces by Julia Cameron.
When it all closes down, it’ll be business as usual for the Gathering Goddess.
Basta says: “We will always have our Notting Hill boutique but we also love taking our show on the road.”
Authenticating vintage – the Gathering Goddess guide
- Zips Look out for metal zips. Most clothing made between the 40s and early 70s had metal zips. Plastic ones usually mean the garment was made later. Dresses from the 30s and earlier almost never had zips.
- Overlocking An overlocking stitch on the hem usually indicates that a garment was made in the 80s or later. Even though the technique was developed much earlier, it wasn’t used widely until the late 70s.
- Fabric This is usually the easiest way to identify the age of a garment. When you feel the difference between velvet from the 1920s and velvet from the 80s, the difference is phenomenal. The 70s also went through a particularly bad period of using horrible synthetics, which is always a good way to date a garment.
- Style Usually this is the first indicator of age, but you have to be careful. After the 50s, designers took inspiration from the previous decades. Now, with the advent of vintage-inspired clothing on the high street, it can be hard to tell whether something is a true vintage piece or a recent copy.
- Labels If the label of the garment is still in place, this is a very good indicator of age. If unsure, use the brilliant Vintage Fashion Guild website. Most but not all fashion labels throughout the years are on here, making it a very useful tool.
The Gathering Goddess pop-up, 152-154 Portobello Road, until August 19, vintagefashionblog.co.uk